Belgium 2020 - GP preview - Red Bull
MAX VERSTAPPEN Q&A
We’re headed to Spa! Is this your favourite track on the calendar?
I love Spa, it’s my favourite circuit on the calendar so I’m always looking forward to driving there. It’s a bit more old school as well so there’s not too much run off in some places. The elevation changes throughout the whole track, you go up and down and there are not too many slow corners, which is always very nice in an F1 car because you really get to experience the full speed and the middle sector at Spa gives you that.
What is your favourite part of the track?
My favourite part of the track is Pouhon especially, the fast left hander, it’s really fast. Getting the balance right in sectors one, two and three with the long straight and infield is crucial and so there are always compromises here and there. You’re also running quite low downforce, so low wing, which means the car is really alive and moving around which makes it more exciting.
Spa marks the start of the next triple header. What are your thoughts heading into the Belgian Grand Prix?
We’re second in the Teams’ and Drivers’ Championship so now we just need to try and keep the momentum going. There are lots of long straights which of course means you can overtake here, but also I expect the guys behind us in qualifying will be very close and knowing Mercedes have a lot of power they will obviously be very quick too.
Do you think this track will pose one of our toughest challenges yet?
Over the last few years it has been a bit up and down in terms of results for us but you never know. We don’t expect this race will be our favourite this year in terms of the layout suiting our package but we will be pushing hard as we have done at every race and maximising the result as a Team.
How much are you going to miss the ‘Orange Army’ this weekend?
The Orange Army are normally out in full force at Spa so it’s a shame we won’t have any fans this year but hopefully they will enjoy the race at home on TV and I hope everyone will like my new special edition Spa cap for this weekend.
Has it been good to have a weekend off?
It’s been nice to have a weekend off, especially after the triple header which you can’t just keep on doing all the time, so hopefully everybody in the Team has enjoyed a rest and is recharged, ready to go again!
ALEX ALBON Q&A
Two triple headers, six races, seven weeks. How busy has the season been so far?
It’s been busy! But it’s always busy in Formula One. Obviously we’re in the full swing of the season now and the races are coming thick and fast. With six races under our belt we know the areas we need to work on and the guys at the factory are working flat out to make the car better, faster but also easier to drive. Everything’s going pretty well, we are improving step by step and experimenting on what works and what doesn’t, just like everyone else.
How have you spent your week off before the next triple header?
I’ve not been up to much, I’ve just spent the week relaxing and recharging the batteries. The triple headers are pretty hectic so it’s been good to relax and of course keep fit, but driving regularly also does that. It’s just about maintaining it, staying sharp and keeping the weight off for the engineers!
How does a Formula One driver relax?
Well, like everyone else your options are fairly limited with the quarantine and COVID situation. We’ve been extra careful and basically just stayed indoors where possible, cooking our own meals, watching Netflix, the usual things. We’ve been doing a bit of hiking which is fun actually, if you fancy a workout then you can run up the mountain instead, just to get the heart rate up!
This week’s Belgian Grand Prix is where you made your debut for Red Bull! Can you believe it’s been a year already?
No, it’s crazy! It’s gone fast, that’s for sure. It definitely doesn’t feel like a year. I’m looking forward to this weekend, I can take what I learned from last year’s race and apply it to this one so there’s a bit of experience that I can take with me which is nice. We already had ideas last year and I remember how the car felt – of course it’s a different car this year but it’s still got similar traits so it’ll be good to compare and see what we can do. As we’ve seen this season, we’ve had some really good races and Spa is good for overtaking so I’m excited to hit the track and get going. I have good memories from last year so hopefully we can do a good job this year – Spa is a nice track and it’s one of the best ones we go to, it’s iconic.
This time last year, you’d just collected your new team kit and didn’t even know your mechanic’s names! How different is it heading to Spa this time around?
I was pretty nervous going into my first race with the Team. Obviously you want to do a good job because you want to make a good impression. I didn’t know anyone, and I’d only been in F1 for six months with Toro Rosso, so going to a big team was obviously very new to me. Now I know everyone, I’m settled in with the Team, we’re making progress each weekend, so it’s nice to go back to the circuit where it all started.
Last year you charged through the field to fifth after a PU grid penalty. What are you expecting this weekend?
I remember this weekend last year and even though the Team didn’t give me any pressure, you know you want to do well and do the best job possible so to have a race like last year was pretty special. For this year, well firstly, the ban on qualifying modes has been moved back to Monza, so let’s see how that plays out. I don’t expect this weekend will be easy as Spa is pretty straight-line dependent and Mercedes are very strong power-wise. That being said, in Silverstone we didn’t expect much and we were flying there so let’s see! It’s not always clear where the advantage lies at each circuit with temperatures, tyres, etc but I really enjoy Spa, it’s a nice track that I don’t think has suited us that well in the past, but we’ve seen this season is full of surprises so let’s get out there and see where everyone stacks up.
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